Well folks, you've got two days left until Valentine's Day and if you don't want to end up in the dog house, you might want to take things up a notch. Chocolates and roses are good but won't make you really stand out.
But there's an easy way to score extra points this Valentine's. It's simple, easy and could also save you money; just by cooking a heart healthy dish at home
"It's straight from the heart, taking care of your heart in a good way, not pressuring yourself by going out and trying to have dinner on Valentine's spend it at home with your honey." Said Chef Lucinda Buren at the Avera Heart Hospital.
The recipe is Smokey Citrus Salmon with Dressed Up Veggies and Pasta.
"We are using lots of fresh vegetables: onions, fresh garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, these wonderful little bitty peppers that are just vitamin packed bar none and so delicious and so fun to use." Said Chef Lucinda.
The dish uses whole grain pasta that's higher in protein and fiber and free of that white flour. It does take some planning ahead, but the meal can be ready in just 30 minutes. The first step is prepping your salmon filets that have been marinating for 2-6 hours.
"With the pulp and juice of fresh orange and lemon and some white wine." Said Chef Lucinda.
The fish will get a sweet-smokey rub.
"We have brown sugar, smoky paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, and some sea salt. It's not spicy hot, it's just wonderful and gives it a real depth of flavor." Said Chef Lucinda.
Then it's off to the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees. With the fish cooking, it's time to address the dressed up veggies.
"You always want to start with what's going to take long to cook. I would start a sauté with the onions." Said Chef Lucinda.
Then comes the peppers, followed by the zucchini and yellow squash. You'll want to keep things moving by stirring often. you'll notice the veggies starting to caramelize and change color, this is what unleashes the flavor.
"At this point we're getting nice color on the squash you want to go ahead and add the fresh minced garlic." Said Chef Lucinda.
If you add garlic too soon, it will taste bitter, but it's essential. Especially during the cold a flu season. The garlic, the onions and citrus really help ward off sickness.
"Now we're going to add our handfuls of spinach that looks like it's going to be a whole lot but it cooks down to next to nothing." Said Chef Lucinda.
With the spinach in the pot you'll want to squeeze at least a half a lemon to the veggies.
"We're going to put a lid on it and let that lemon juice steam." Said Chef Lucinda.
You can then turn down the burner and add your two cups of pasta to the mix.
"We'll add our bow tie pasta at that we've already previously cooked and we've had hanging out in the sink in a drainer." Said Chef Lucinda.
A few stirs later, the dish is just about ready.
By now the salmon should be finishing up, the only thing it needs is a squeezed orange over the top and it's ready to be plated.
"On Valentine's you want to have a wonderful romantic meal without feeling like you just ate Thanksgiving." Said Chef Lucinda.
With a complete meal, that includes a dark chocolate truffle dessert, and is under 700 calories your honey and your heart will definitely be smiling (as long as you don't forget the flowers!)